Vegetarian-friendly Mediterranean chickpea salad recipe

chickpea salad

Blanche Clark

Posted January 18, 2023

Fresh and tasty, this vegetarian-friendly Mediterranean chickpea salad recipe is perfect for barbecues, as a tasty side dish or to serve as a delicious meal on its own.

Combine chickpeas with grilled eggplant, fresh herbs and a yoghurt dressing for a tasty salad to complement the perfect summer barbecue or to dish up as a protein-packed meal for lunch or dinner. This recipe from the RACV Club kitchen will hit the spot on a summer's day or if you want something relatively simple for dinner.

Chickpeas are also a great choice if you’re vegetarian, vegan or cutting back on meat. To make this recipe vegan friendly, replace the yoghurt with a cashew-based yoghurt. It's easy to do. Cover 1.5 cups of cashews with water and a pinch of salt, and soak overnight. Drain and blend the cashews in a food processor with 2tbsp lemon juice and 1-2 tbsp stevia or maple syrup until smooth and creamy. You’ll also find chickpeas in this budget-friendly vegetable tagine recipe.

Nutrition Australia’s Healthy Eating Pyramid includes legumes, such as chickpeas and lentils, in the vegetable group and protein group, so you’re ticking two nutritional boxes when you try this Mediterranean chickpea salad.

Eggplant is easy to grill, which makes it a popular way to cook this vegetable – although eggplant is technically a fruit because it develops from the flower of a plant and contain seeds.

Eggplants are in season in Victoria in summer and autumn, so that’s the best time to give this recipe a go.

plate of grilled eggplant

Grill the eggplant on a chargrill or barbecue for the salad, or serve it by itself as a side dish. Image: Getty

Vegetarian-friendly Mediterranean chickpea salad recipe



Time to make

60 minutes




  • 2 large (about 500g) eggplant, cut into 5mm thick rounds
  • 100ml olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic gloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • dried chilli flakes, as desired
  • 600g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • salt to taste
  • ½ bunch fresh mint leaves, picked and washed
  • ½ bunch coriander leaves, picked and washed
  • 3 tbsp toasted pine nuts


  • 70g natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp (or as needed) cold water
  • salt to taste


  1. Preheat a chargrill or barbecue grill on medium-high. Brush both sides of the eggplant with half the oil and season well. Chargrill for 3 minutes each side or until charred and tender. Transfer to a plate. Cover to keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the yoghurt, lemon juice, tahini and water in a bowl. Stir until smooth. Consistency should be thick but runny. Season to taste.
  3. Heat remaining oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic for 4 minutes or until soft. Stir in cumin and dried chilli flakes for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add chickpeas and stir for 2 minutes or until warmed through. Transfer to a bowl. Add eggplant and half the combined herbs to the chickpea mixture. Season to taste and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  4. To serve, drizzle with tahini dressing. Sprinkle with remaining combined herbs and the pine nuts.

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